Macrohistory Seminar – Ferdinand Rauch (Oxford)

Event details

  • | Thursday, June 30
  • 12:15 PM
  • Kaiserplatz 7-9, 4th floor, Room 4.006

Of Mice and Merchants: Trade and Growth in the Iron Age

with Steve Pischke and Stefan Maurer.


The causal connection between trade and development is typically obscured by reverse causality, the endogenous location of economic activities, and confounding factors like institutions. To avoid these problems, we study this question using one of the earliest massive trade expansions in prehistory: the first systematic crossing of open seas in the Mediterranean during the time of the Phoenicians. For each point on the coast, we construct the ease with which other points can be reached by crossing open water. This connectivity differs depending on the shape of the coast and the location of islands. We show that better connected locations have more archaeological sites during the Iron Age but not earlier, when sailors were primarily sailing close to the coast. We corroborate these findings at the world scale.

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